Metal Grrrl: I Am A Subject Not An Object

I move in male-dominated circles. I’m a metal junkie and yes, I’m learning the ropes, but I’m not some vapid groupie who is only on the scene for the 5:1 male-female ratio that stacks the odds in my favor. I’m going to shows, buying albums, buying merchandise, and writing about metal. Of all the genres of music, it is the most diverse, fascinating, and intellectually challenging.

I am an attractive female, a rarity on the scene relatively speaking, but the way I look is an accident of birth. First and foremost, I am a mind and a heart and a set of unique predispositions that are infinitely complex and interesting. I have thoughts and feelings like any other person and I want to be treated as a person, a subject.

Too often, I find myself the object of other people’s projections, male and female, and it frustrates me. Few of the people who project their assumptions on me mean any harm. Those that do are dealt with quickly.

Metal is a divine gift...
Metal is a divine gift…

Here are the assumptions in the order of their irritation factor:

Assumption #1: I have to like the kind of metal you like because I don’t have the capacity to know what I like about metal.

Assumption #2: I pretend to like metal because the metal scene is the male-female ratio equivalent of Alaska.

Assumption #3: I can’t appreciate the raw energy of metal because I’m a helpless, passive female.

Those are my top three pet-peeves. I do understand that these assumptions are based on partial fact, but usually the model of choice is the girlfriends or wives of musicians in the genre. I’m not knocking these women either. Just because my ex-husband liked baseball and played in a league didn’t mean I had to do the same.

Assumptions are like spiders. I HATE spiders.
Assumptions are like spiders. I HATE spiders.

I will address each assumption, so if I’ve handed you my card at a metal show and you thought you knew what I’m about, you can read this post and get the skinny on what I’m REALLY about.

Assumption Buster #1: I studied music. I’m a vocalist. I was raised in a musical family and I’ve raised an extreme metal drummer. Thrash metal is one of my favorite subgenres, but I also like Djent, Groove, Melodic Death, Progressive, Power, and the list goes on. I think my least favorite genre is Black Metal though I do enjoy black metal elements in other subgenres.  WARNING: A band can’t tell me their music is Mathcore and then have none of the Mathcore elements in their compositions. I will call that and I will bust balls.

Assumption Buster #2: I don’t pretend anything. I won’t pretend to like a band that sucks. I won’t spend my money on a band that sucks. I won’t pretend to like you and I don’t care what band you’re in if you’re a douche-bag. I won’t deny that I prefer guys who prefer metal. I won’t deny that I like the odds. I don’t pretend.

Assumption Buster #3: I got knocked down at the last show I attended. I wasn’t even in the mosh pit. I was singled out and dragged from the sidelines against my will by a guy twice my size. Needless to say, when I got back up, my inner Beast was growling and I was about a hair’s breadth away from an old-fashioned Irish war spasm a la Cu Chulainn.  I busted chops as I waded back to the sidelines and my Beast approved. Don’t tell me I can’t appreciate raw energy because I’ve been familiar with metal and mosh pits longer than you’ve been out of diapers.

The lesson here is even though you’ve met me, assessed me, and dismissed me with one or all of the above assumptions doesn’t mean you know me. Any more than I would know you based on the metal head stereotypes that have cropped up over the years.

So check your assumptions at the door. I’m here to enjoy a metal show. Everything else is gravy as long as it’s based on the actuality of my being a subject: a thinking, feeling individual with an autonomous existence that transcends stereotypes and projections. I’ll return the favor. I promise.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Metal Grrrl: I Am A Subject Not An Object” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Current Work(s) In Progress

blog-hop-button.jpgHaving a Sanguine writer’s personality, I’ve discovered that I must have multiple writing projects going on at the same time or I will despair of ever completing anything. Though I am a dramatic and accomplished story teller, I am easily bored with the nuts and bolts of writing and I can be derailed if I hit a snag in the writing process (why won’t this character die???).

Find out what your writer’s temperament is here.

A sanguine temperament can make completing stories—difficult. I’ve learned  a few things that promise to help me reach my goal of consistently producing finished works.

1. Diversify: this means it’s okay to have more than one project going on at a time. Each project has its own virtual planning book. If I get stuck on a project and lose my zest, I will mark where I left off, close that book, and open another one.

2. Compress. Instead of trying to write out a novel over the course of a year, I’ve taken to writing short stories. Eventually I can use them as the foundation for a novel.

3. Limit. I’ve been taking on projects that have deadlines and defined parameters. Sometimes, when the sky is the limit, I’ll get lost in the wide, blue yonder. Limits force me to honor my end of the bargain and harnesses my creative energy.

 

ignoring passion

I am currently working on the following:

1. Ruth Snyder’s blog hop which falls under number 3. I have enjoyed writing for this so much that I’m going to search for another blog hop.

2. A short story that plays on the Ballad of Tam Lin which falls under number 2.

3. A romance novel.

4. Another series through my publisher that has me working closely with several other authors to create an origin short story. I can’t wait to start this!

5. Just in case I get stuck, I’ll write a review of something: a book, album, or show to pull me out of a rut. These are like instant gratification bonuses for me.

6. Last but not least, I’m looking to get some of my poetry published. I need to polish it up and start submitting.

I know this looks ambitious to some and it certainly isn’t a work style that suits everyone. I wanted to share how I work to see if anyone else works this way and possibly offer a few pointers on getting the most out of my writer’s temperament.

Tell me about your writer’s personality in the comments. Stay calm and keep writing.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Current Work(s) In Progress” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Rage With the Beast

I’ve been asking myself why metal music makes me shiver. Particular songs just make my skin prickle and bring such intense, all-over pleasure that it has caused me to question some fundamental understandings about myself.

I asked my son about this and he told me, “You’re getting in touch with your rage.” He should know. I think he inherited mine in utero.

angry
My son says his beast looks like a tall, roaring flame with a mouth full of teeth. Mine looks more like this. You can dress it up, but you can’t take it anywhere.

I agree that metal, especially extreme metal, can be comparable to shaving unhappy bears and setting them loose on an innocent population. But why do I love it so much? Before it had made me so uncomfortable that I ignored it.

All music is an expression of the human condition. Yes, even the vapid boy bands with their bubble gum pop riffs and saccharine lyrics express a human condition whether I agree with said condition or not. Based on this premise, I followed the threads backwards.

From an early age, I remember fear. I remember helplessness. I remember not having the power to say “no” though I screamed it in my mind. I remember pain. I remember rage. I remember crying so much that it seemed that all I tasted were tears.

I do not remember the actual events. My mind has suppressed them so successfully that only once in a blue moon will I have a complete recall. The recall is hellish.

dont pray for easy

See, I ran from my past like a tri-athlete There were years when I forgot what it was like to cry because I hated the taste and the sensation. I laughed at the most inappropriate times. Verbal arguments were fought with a desperation and viciousness that left my opponents stunned. I was ready to swing whenever I felt remotely threatened. Until I went to therapy. Until the first recall.

It’s never convenient to recall. The recall doesn’t happen while I’m sitting at home alone or with a trained therapist. The recall doesn’t care if I’m at work or if I’m at the grocery store. I am helpless in the face of it—frozen—as my awareness is transported to a  brutal moment of physical degradation in another place and time. Sometimes I am three years old. Sometimes I am in middle school. Always, I am young and I am helpless.

During a recall I receive a quantum packet of FML in about thirty seconds. No lube. No consideration for whether there are spectators or not. No “thank you” afterwards.

At first I thought it was because I was in therapy. But when I had reached a point where therapy had done what it could, including medication for an incapacitating anxiety disorder that rendered me agoraphobic for three months, I realized that I needed to take control of my past.

wired to suffer

I started by asking for tears. In 2009 I cried de Nile River. That was when my love for heavy metal truly blossomed. All the old standbys from my adolescence came into play: Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica and some newer, angrier hard rock/heavy metal acts like Godsmack, Alice in Chains, Black Label Society, Chevelle, Mastodon and QOTSA got their time. Anything that talked about the rage and the helplessness, the establishment and the insanity.

I realized that the music was a natural release valve for all the pent up rage that boiled inside of me. What I didn’t realize until five months ago was that the above mentioned music only scraped the surface.

I have October 8, 2013 marked as a turning point. I went to my first all extreme metal show. Screams and growls mostly. Blast beats a requirement.

At this show were a number of thrash metal bands, three of which stood out for me. The first was my son’s band Xstrophy and I go to almost every show now because they have opened up a whole new world for me. The second was Exemptus just because they have a sheer energy that engages me on a visceral level. The third was Battlecross.

If you’re friends with me on FaceBook, you know that this band is my all time favorite thrash metal band. It isn’t because the music is phenomenal. It isn’t that they are just all around great guys who know how to put on an amazing show. Though the aforementioned certainly contributed, what made them special is that their music helped me communicate with my Beast.

worst day
I wish I had started that young…

For the first time, I could get in touch with my rage and it didn’t scare the crap out of me. Together, my Beast and I could thrash and wrestle and scream and growl, and let me tell you, it feels freakin’ incredible. No one gets hurt, least of all me, and I come out grinning like a fiend.

The happy side effect is that instead of getting bludgeoned by total recall, my rage is feeding me the feelings in small doses. Instead of going catatonic, I get to step back and examine the pain, the helplessness, and the fear from a place of empowerment. I never expected something as extreme as, well, extreme metal to be so therapeutic. From In Flames to Meshuggah to After the Burial to All Shall Perish, I am discovering a whole new world inside of me where the things that go “grrr” in the night are my allies. \m/

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Rage With the Beast” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Genre of Choice: Paranormal Fantasy & Horror

blog-hop-buttonEven as a small child, I was fascinated by the forbidden. I was the geek in the corner of the room with her nose in a tome of The Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Even with the sanitized endings, I knew the stories told of gruesome things. The story of Bluebeard was my favorite.

Bluebeard is the shadow in us all. One of many illustratons at http://bit.ly/1cnhIXw.

My favorite authors are Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Karen Marie Moning, Jim Butcher, and Kevin Hearne. They all incorporate elements of the monstrous and the forbidden with the ethereal seductiveness of the Fairy Tale. They tell of death, destruction, and gruesome things happening in an alternate history from the one in which I live. So close and yet so far away.

A deep part of me yearns for the magic of the Fairy Tale while the part of me that has seen the ugliness of humanity knows that the gruesome is just beneath the surface. The genre explores themes of acceptance, good v. evil, the beauty v. the beast, and loyalty v. betrayal. The action never stops and the characters are gritty and powerful.

When I grow up, I hope to produce epic works in the genre I love to read. That doesn’t mean I will. Sometimes what I love to read does not come out in what I write. There is a part of me that balks when I ask the question, “How can I make my protagonist suffer even more?” Hopefully, I will outgrow this situational compassion and destroy worlds.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Genre of Choice: Paranormal Fantasy & Horror” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Wandering Through A Never Ending Winter

You know that person, bundled in rags and thrift shop cast offs, standing on the busiest street corner begging for your change. How many times have you walked the other way to avoid them, or stared straight ahead while they spoke to you—as if they didn’t exist? How uncomfortable does this person make you feel? Have you ever asked yourself why?

All too often, we are confronted with the flip side of the comfort and wealth we take for granted. If you can sit and read this post while munching on a snack in the comfort of your own domicile, even if it is a PB&J made in your very own trailer, you are wealthier than a significant portion of the world population.

normal_blws_-_wsm_-_cover_-_600
100% of the net proceeds of BLOWSIGHT’s single “Winter Have Mercy (Thank You)” will be donated to a charity that helps the homeless. Click the graphic for more details.

But I can answer your question about why you feel uncomfortable. You feel helpless. You want to help. You wish homelessness didn’t exist. You wish you understood why there are homeless people and what inequities drove them into the streets, alone and starving.

You try to tell yourself that these people are con-artists, ex-convicts, and psychotics. You’re also told by a predominantly puritanical ethos that to help these people, you have to be an ascetic and live among them turning fish and bread meant for six into something that will feed multitudes. As comfort-loving creatures in a world that is confusing, painful, and oft-times soul-grinding, I don’t see many ascetics rising up from the masses.

So think of being cold, the kind of cold that you have felt in this never-ending winter, where the tips of your fingers and all of your toes are unceasingly numb despite layers of socks and any number of hearth fires. Think of how you shiver on a corner waiting for the light to change so you can get your lunch back to the office and you’re bundled in your Lands End down coat, suede gloves and matching wool hat and muffler.

Now magnify that tenfold, change wool and down to polyester and canvas, and add a stomach that is eating itself because a full meal—we’re not including the garbage scavenged from the dumpster behind a fast food joint—hasn’t sat in it for days. If the thought of this makes you feel helpless, think of how helpless that person feels. This is what immobilizes us, and we can change it all: one step, one dollar, and one song at a time.

BLOWSIGHT  is offering each of us an opportunity to do something about this endemic and cross-cultural inequity.  For $0.99 ($1.29 on iTunes) you can download Winter Show Mercy (Thank You). 100% of net proceeds resulting from downloads will be donated to charity in an effort to help the homeless.

A self-styled combination of PopMetalPunk, BLOWSIGHT’s single is a power ballad departure from their hard rock/heavy metal sound.  To download your copy of Winter Show Mercy (Thank You) for only $0.99 go to Amazon and for $1.29 go to iTunes.

There’s a back story to this song that you can view here. Huzzah! Here’s to warm fingers and toes and full bellies for everyone.

For more information on BLOWSIGHT, please visit these websites:
www.EclipseRecords.com/Blowsight
www.Blowsight.com
www.Facebook.com/Blowsight
www.Twitter.com/BlowsightBand

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Wandering Through A Never Ending Winter” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Advice to Newbies

blog-hop-buttonAs an author, copy and content editor, former publisher, and a former board member of the Baltimore Writers’ Alliance, I have given this advice to a number of aspiring AND established writers.

Suggestion One:

Keep writing, save everything, even if you think it’s crap. Get the word count under your belt because it is the foundation upon which your published work will rest and it will help develop your writer’s voice. It’s the doing that makes you good and the good stuff gets rewritten and edited until it is publishable. Keep these four words of wisdom in mind: FIRST DRAFTS SUCK. ALWAYS.

Suggestion Two:

Know your market—your target audience. Read what they read and make sure you enjoy it. If you don’t, you’re in the wrong market. There are so many genres and subgenres out there, you shouldn’t have a problem finding your niche.

Suggestion Three:

Research the tools of writing such as structure, point of view, and tension. Follow the blogs of writers whose work you enjoy. Sign up for newsletters on writing. There are many books out there on writing and no matter your level of professional acclaim, it is always, ALWAYS good to go back to the basics and review them with a matured sensibility.

moon portal

Suggestion Four:

Start writing a blog. Write about the things that vex you, the things that make you deliriously happy, and the hobbies you have. Show people the many facets of you. Even though your followers may not be thick on the ground now, the followers that fall onto your path later are going to look at previous posts to get a better sense of you. Use this tool to build a sense of connection with your readership. I personally enjoy WordPress.com but I also have my posts published on Blogger because of the connectivity with all my other Google apps.

Suggestion Five:

Think about how appropriate it would be for you to adopt a pen name now before you become a public personality. I work in law enforcement and use my legal name to perform my duties. I was creeped out by how often the people I came into contact in my official capacity would Google my name and find my public profiles such as LinkedIn and Facebook. I had to change my public name to protect my livelihood and my privacy. If you do adopt a pen name, choose something unique and yet eponymous to your intended genre. Google it and if the name doesn’t have hits, run with it.

Suggestion Six:

It is never too late to start building a social media presence. Start with goodreads to participate with other authors and readers. Once you’ve established your brand and gotten an idea of which direction you’re going, set up a separate Facebook and Twitter account under that brand. Pinterest and LinkedIn are other good mediums. Learn how to use them now and you’ll be ready to promote your work and commune with your readership.

 

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Advice to Newbies” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

First World Problems-poetry review

I’m a fan of poets and poetry, but sometimes poetry is just too dense. It’s like running a marathon all from the comfort of my armchair. It’s not something I enjoy doing at first and then it starts to feel good and then I don’t want to stop. I’m wide awake on adrenalin and before long the chapbook—c’est fini.

I picked up Adam Moursy’s book of poems, Dizzied By Chance, and wondered what to expect since these poems were touted to be of a Fringe Existence. This is what I found—poems that are raunchy, urbane, laced with First World desperation, and that require a 12-step program all their own. From one mind-twisting relationship to the next and from one drunk to another, the ennui and disarray of the narrator’s interior word are reflected in the exterior reality.

Dizzied by Change

“damnation” is a particular favorite because it succinctly describes what I call “the luck o’ the Irish.” If anyone ever wishes that kind of luck on you, punch that person in the throat. ‘Tis not a good thing.

“all I did was ask what she’s into…” struck a chord because it spoke to the deviant in me. We all have those things that we don’t tell other people unless we’re very drunk or feel very safe. I’m thinking she was drunk.

Perhaps my favorite is “spread the word.”

now I need to tweet

now I need to blog…

and the ending just blew me away because it so captured how I feel about social media as an artist (as opposed to a business woman). If anything makes me dizzy, it’s Twitter.

“bestial” was high up there too. I like books, songs, and poems that mention the Devil (must be capitalized) and God in the same paragraph. The twist at the end gave me a deep satisfaction.

I also felt that “dinner with Jesus,” which addresses the end-of-times and the futility of waiting for it to happen, was a timely rant. With Ragnarok predicted for February 22, 2014, thus having come and gone, I think it most fitting to mention. Perhaps Moursy could follow up with a poem about the crushed faith of the believers in his next volume. That would be tasty. Hail the almighty taco!

“hot damn” was the one poem that did nothing for me. I think every good work has that one flaw that proves the creator is human. As with all art, my opinion is subjective and others might rave about this particular offering, but it left me limp. Perhaps it was the incessant splishing and splashing – all those “esses” creating a cognitive dissonance that perhaps was intended.

As I write this, I think that Moursy should consider joining a melodic death metal band, perhaps with some metal core elements. This way he can scream with rage at God and the Devil in one song while moaning over his failed schizophrenic relationships in another. Add some majestic guitars, some thundering bass and drums, and I would seriously throw out my neck. I knew there was a reason I read the whole volume in one sitting. \m/

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “First World Problems—poetry review” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Social Media Is My Friend

I say this to myself in the mirror every morning: “Social media is my friend.” I’ve been doing this since October of 2013 while having a seriously twisted love-hate relationship with Twitter, falling head-over-heels for Pinterest, and trying to figure out how to get stuff to post on my Facebook Page without getting my Facebook involved. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

I’m going to tell you about the tools I’ve discovered, but I also want to give you insight into some of my experiences with the various social media. I participate in a number with varying degrees of success.

creative person's mind

WordPress.com and Blogger

I love my blogSleeping half-moon(s). I take great satisfaction in posting to them. Though they do strange things like insert crescent moons into my text, I think I thrive on the chaos of it all. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned about writing a blog:

1. Keep the posts short (300 – 500 words).

2. Post regularly.

3. If someone takes the time to comment, respond.

4. Pick a day of the week, maybe the day you post, to look through fellow bloggers’ sites and make comments. I know I feel loved when I see a comment.

Twitter

I have wrestled with serious obstacles using Twitter. Its immediacy can be overwhelming to an introvert like me. I also get very upset when I experience a drop in followers. It feels like high school all over again. Here are a couple things I’ve learned about Tweeting:

1. Retweets are GOOD. To give and to receive.

2. #FF (Follow Fridays) should be observed with zeal (see IFTTT for ways to collect follower information).

3. Hash tags are your friends. Remember to use them (and I forget all the time).

4. Twitter is about groupings. It’s like creating the perfect dinner party with just the right mix of people who share similar interests but are different enough to share unique perspectives.

Pinterest

I don’t just like this application, I LURVE it. I pin my blog posts, fan pictures, funny memes, writing tips, books I want to read, recipes—I could go on and on and I would but this is a blog post. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned about Pinterest:

1. Group boards are fun as long as you enjoy the content. I declined a Bollywood Actress board only to have the same person ask me to post to a Funny board, which I accepted. Optimal posting is once a day on a group board.

2. Your content improves the more people you follow so having a whacky ratio of 200 followers to the 571 you follow is OK.

3. Pin what you love and make comments. Show people YOU and don’t be surprised when your stuff gets repinned.

4. I’ll follow All of someone’s boards, but will unfollow a particular board (rather than the person) if it gets on my nerves (Boards about manicures irritate me and I unfollow those right quick). This avoids hurt feelings.

Facebook Page

Most of us have a Facebook. What I’m talking about here is a Facebook Page. I have an Author page. I try to post content relative to the theme of the page. It’s a beast to manage. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned about Facebook Page:

1. FB Page is notoriously exclusive in what it will allow you to post and which applications it will interact with. WordPress.com—nope. Hoot Suite—nope. Twitter—nope. You get the idea.

2. The analytics are nifty but you have to reach 50 likes to even see these metrics.

3. You can’t sign up for anything if you’re logged in as your FB Page.

4. I haven’t figured out all of the things you CAN’T do, but I’m sure I will as I try to figure out what it CAN do.

Social Media Is Your Friend Tools

1. Hoot Suite: this helps you schedule tweets, Facebook posts (not Page posts), Linked In updates, and WordPress posts. There is an auto-schedule feature that I adore. While I’m working, I can look like I’m not as Hoot Suite releases my tweets and posts throughout the day.

2. IFTTT: I just found this baby. This application runs on the premise of If This Then That (they call it a Recipe). I can use a pre-made recipe to gather new follower information into a spreadsheet. I can create a recipe that posts to my FaceBook PAGE if I tweet with the #bloghop in it. I can also post simultaneously to my WordPress and Blogger sites with a pre-made recipe. Seriously exciting stuff!

And Resources

3. If you’re a writer, you’ve probably subscribed to various writing websites. If they offer you a free tutorial on social media, CHECK IT OUT! I received a free Twitter Guide from Book Baby that has cleared all the boogey men out of that particular closet. I don’t use everything in one book either. I pick and choose to create a set of tools that work for me.

4. I have a subscription to Write To Done and that has been worth it’s weight in daily digests. I hesitate to defer an email from them. Write To Done talks about the business of social media for the author (and other things), but it can also give musicians and artists insight into what works and why, especially if the idea is to cross genres to appeal to writers as a market (we like music—and art).

I had posted last month that one of my goals was to get my Social Media under control and it looks like I’ve found a few interesting keys to make it happen.

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Social Media Is My Friend” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Character Sketch: Laney Brennan

blog-hop-buttonI build characters in my head. I talk to them and sometimes I answer out loud. My kids think I’m crazy. They’re right but not for the reasons they think.

I hate doing character sketches where I sit down and write everything out. I feel overwhelmed as I try to figure out if it’s me talking or my character. Sometimes I worry that I’m limiting my character by putting everything on paper. This time though, I think my heroine is so real that even though she has similar interests and opinions as me, what shaped these interests and opinions are unique to her. She also seems flexible, as if she will grow and evolve.

I decided to knuckle down and put Laney Brennan, field correspondent for Metal Fusion Magazine, to paper using two questionnaires. The first I used can be found here:

Character Profile

from Laura Hayden’s “Left-Brain-Right Brain/Creativity Program”

This worksheet starts off with the basics: appearance, habits, philosophy, and how the character interacts with others. More importantly it addresses dominant character traits and the traits that complement or oppose that dominant trait. You should have two admirable traits and one that surprises your reader. What makes this worksheet so awesome is the personal interview with the character. My character’s voice came through loud and clear as I did this.

If you’re interested to see how I filled out this worksheet click here.

The second worksheet I used can be found here:

100 Character Development Questions for Writers

by Laura Cushing

This worksheet is all in the character’s voice. Voice is a hard thing to capture and I need all the practice I can get.

If you’re interested to see how I filled out this worksheet click here.

Final Thoughts

The worksheets took me several hours to complete. I was frustrated and had to walk away a few times. This was after multiple conversations with Laney building up to this exercise.

Laney’s a complex person and I’m trying to capture her using questions that may not always address matters of importance to her. If you’ll notice, she’s okay with sexuality, but not so much kink or revealing her sexual fantasies. I could see her blushing as she tried to answer some of the questions. I tried to go easy on her. Pao says she has an arm on her.

13.5 Things That Will Change Your Writing by Kami Garcia @kamigarcia
13.5 Things That Will Change Your Writing by Kami Garcia @kamigarcia

Feel free to change the questions. The super special feature of this questionnaire is that it includes questions about supernatural/paranormal situations the character may face. Questions about morality were also asked and that gives your character more depth.

Even though I was frustrated, completing both worksheets was a satisfying experience. As I go through my rewrite and focus on just Laney’s actions and dialogue in the first pass, I’ll have my handy character sketch to guide me. Anything that doesn’t sound like or act like Laney will be replaced with her essence.

Stay calm and keep writing!

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Character Sketch: Laney Brennan” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

Idiomatic Genesis OR Shaving Bears

I’ve been looking into idioms because often times they are wrapped up in absurd imagery. “I’ll fix your little red wagon” is an example. Here we have the image of the innoccuous childhood red wagon (think Flyer) representing the messy and diabolical urge to even the score. “A hair of the dog” means to do the very thing as a cure that made you miserable in the first place (have a shot of whiskey to nix that hangover, why don’t ya?).

I was hanging out on FaceBook (when I was supposed to be writing) and I came across this:

shaved bear
Does this look like a happy bear?

 What shocked me was not that anyone had thought to shave a bear, but that the result looked like an honest-to-goodness werewolf! When I imagine a werewolf, I am actually visualizing a shaved bear. Go figure.

I’m just speculating here, but it seems a shaved bear is not a happy bear. I certainly can’t equate anything that looks like a werewolf with anything wholesome or cuddly. If you don’t see where I’m going with this, let me spell it out for you:

“Seriously, man, you don’t want to SHAVE THAT BEAR.

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”

This could apply in any situation where one might open a can of worms or rub a cat the wrong way only with more brutal consequences. A bear mauling is serious business.

Today, I want you to put this new idiom in your tool box. When your significant other, or a small child, is pestering you about doing something or other that would result in a figurative mauling (regardless of the maulee) I want you to pull this shiny, new idiom out and launch it fearlessly into the airspace. As you do so, I want you to savor the usefulness of the absurd and the cliche. I want you to remember me, the creator of such a ridiculous idiom, and I want you to laugh.

Feel free to post your favorite idioms in the comment section. I collect them. I use them. Choose wisely.

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